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Wind River Canopy Crane Research Facility

Map of Wind River Canopy Crane Research Facility
The Wind River Canopy Crane Research Facility (WRCCRF) is a powerful canopy access tool for putting researchers and their equipment virtually any place within the three dimensional volume of the forest. The crane is 74.5 meters tall, which covers a circle with a radius of 85 meters. It gives researchers access to 2.3 hectares of forest of an old-growth (500 yr) Douglas-fir/western hemlock forest at 371 meters elevation. Researchers step into a gondola at ground level, and are taken to their desired locations.

The mission of the WRCCRF is to provide a facility, canopy access, and data/information for those wishing to better understand the forest canopy within the context of forest science and management in its broadest sense. This will be accomplished by expediting canopy research, fostering an environment for interaction and exchange of canopy information among scientists, and to those outside the scientific community, and providing a training area for those interested in canopy studies. The WRCCRF is cooperatively managed by the University of Washington, College of Forest Resources, US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, and US Forest Service Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The WRCCRF is located approximately 100 km east-northeast of Portland, Oregon, in Skamania County, Washington in the Thornton T. Munger Research Natural Area of the Wind River Experimental Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Carson, Washington.

Latitude: North 45 49' 13.76", Longitude: West 121 57' 06.88"

Jerry Franklin, Director: 206-543-2138
Ken Bible, Site Director/Research Scientist: 509-427-5941
Located within the 478 hectare T.T. Munger Research Natural Area, and the 4,124 hectare Wind River Experimental Forest, both are managed by the Pacific Northwest Research Station and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Canopy Hut (4625 sq ft) is our main office for staff, visiting researchers and students, and includes a shop and limited storage. Also have 1500 sq ft of storage in an adjacent facility. We manage two houses for housing, can sleep 16 people. All buildings are owned by the US Forest Service, long term outlook for continued use is good. No wet lab, herbarium, or dormitories are currently available.
Liebherr HC 550 tower crane. Height: 74.5 m. Reach (jib length) 85 meters. Total area accessible under the crane: 2.3 hectares.

Two suspended personnel baskets (gondolas): Eight person, 2,000 lbs limit, and a four person, 1,000 lbs limit.

Cooperatively manage two houses with the US Forest Service PNW Research Station. Can bunk 16 people. Rental of other housing from USFS is available.
Special use permit from the US Forest Service, PNW Research Station and Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The crane is owned by the University of Washington.
Facility is supported by grants to the University of Washington from the PNW Research Station, US Forest Service. Some costs are captured by user fees which are provided by institutional and agency funds (e.g., National Science Foundation, Dept.of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency).
Recent Usage
Primarily non-UW users, mostly from regional institutions (e.g., OSU, WSU, USFS, UW, UC Davis, and Smithsonian Institution). Crane was erected in April 1995. Since that time over 100 research projects have been done. We average approximately 30 to 35 projects per year. The Western Regional Center of the National Institute for Global Climate Change has established a significant research program on the carbon cycle in forests at Wind River, and uses the canopy crane and surrounding forests for this work, including eddy flux measurements of carbon sequestration by the old-growth forest. We are founding members of the International Canopy Crane Network, a collaborative endeavor between all canopy crane sites in the world (10 sites). We have begun collaborative research with a number of other sites.

Major projects include research on the carbon cycle, especially carbon exchange between the forest and the atmosphere, as well as the processes which control this. Also includes research on the vertical structure of the forest canopy, tree ecophysiology, processes of aging, vertical occurance of avifauna, dwarf mistletoes, epiphytes, microclimate, insects, herbivory, and foliage disease.

Major projects include research on vertical structure of the forest canopy, tree ecophysiology, vertical patterns of forest bats, vertical occurrence of avifauna, dwarf mistletoes, microclimate, epiphytes, insects, and herbivory.

Usage fee
$185/hr for crane time. Housing is $4.00 per night per person. Fees for crane use may be waived if funding is unable to pay.
The crane was manufactured in 1980 and used in industry until 1994. The most recent project was to build the public library in downtown San Francisco. The crane was refurbished and painted forest green. It is in good condition.
Office: 509-427-7028
Fax: 509-427-7037
By road.
Unique environment
The WRCCRF is the only such facility in North America. 10 cranes are now operating around the globe in Europe, Asia, Australia, South, Central and North America. Three others currently exist in tropical forests. The facility is used to study old-growth (500 year old) Douglas-fir/western hemlock forest in a pristine condition. The forest is about 60 meters tall, and the crane gives researchers access to about 320 tree crowns.
The Director of the Facility is Professor Jerry Franklin in the College of Forest Resources. On site staff include: Research Manager, Research Coordinator, Program Coordinator, Research Tower Crane Operator, Research Technician 3. Interns and seasonal staff vary. A permanent meteorological technician is assigned to the site by the University of California, Davis to manage the eddy flux systems.